The active selection of goldfish for specific traits dates back to the end of the first millennium in ancient China. Color was the first trait but, with the genetic richness of the goldfish, other mutations soon appeared. One of the earlier breeds of Chinese goldfish was the "Egg Fish" (dan yu).
The Egg Fish is a stout goldfish with no dorsal fin and a short double tail. It is probably the precursor to many modern varieties, like the Celestial, Ranchu and Lionhead. The Egg Fish over time proliferated into many variations and colors. One of the varieties of Egg Fish that was created was a long-tailed, or "phoenix" version. These add graceful, spread, flowing fins to the other characteristics of the original Egg Fish.
The blue-colored, long-tailed version of the Egg Fish is called the Blue Egg Phoenix (lan dan feng). The Egg Fish heritage of this variety goes back over 800 years, though the Blue Egg Phoenix itself is probably somewhat less ancient.
Due to changing tastes, the Cultural Revolution, and the difficulty of maintaining satisfactory strains of the Egg Phoenix, many of these varieties have become very rare in China and are virtually unknown elsewhere in the world. None was scarcer than the Blue Egg Phoenix.
In Hong Kong there is an aquarium devoted to Chinese goldfish. It is called the Goldfish Pagoda and it is inside Ocean Park in Aberdeen, HK. One of the Goldfish Pagoda's activities is to find good strains of rare goldfish breeds and then display and propagate them. One of the first rare breeds they tackled was the Blue Egg Phoenix.
A GFSA member, Steve Frowine, visited the Goldfish Pagoda in 1995 and met with its director and some of the staff. Steve suggested that a fish exchange between the Goldfish Pagoda and the GFSA might be a mutually beneficial event, providing a wider base for the preservation of rare varieties.
In 1996, the Goldfish Pagoda shipped 18 Blue Egg Phoenixes to the GFSA in the United States and the GFSA shipped a similar number of Blue Veiltail goldfish back to them. The Veils were bred by Al Foster. The Blue Egg Phoenixes were distributed to a number of senior breeders in the society.
Young, American-bred Blue Egg Phoenix exhibited at the GFSA Convention 2000.
These fish are hardy, though somewhat slow to spawn. After a few mishaps, a good breeding base has been established with a number of active breeders keeping the breed. They have proven equally adaptable to the pond or the aquarium, with both an attractive side and top view and active, alert behavior.